BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Two inmates who may be armed are on the run after walking away from Black River Correctional Center, kidnapping a woman and stealing a vehicle in Sparta.
29-year-old James Newman from Suamico, near Green Bay, and 18-year-old James Misleveck of Mauston were reported missing Tuesday at about 11:15 p.m.
Deputies from Jackson County deputies were not able to find the men after a search late Tuesday night.
Monroe County Sheriff Pete Quirin tells News 8 the men kidnapped a woman and forced her to drive them to Sparta, where they got out at a Kwik Trip. The men then ran to Northern Engraving and stole a vehicle.
The men were last seen driving into a wooded area south of Tomah near Ironclad Avenue. Quirin says the stolen vehicle and a shotgun were found, but the inmates were not.
Quirin says the men may still be armed. If anyone sees the inmates, authorities ask that they call 911. Authorities say the public should not approach the men.
Authorities are going house-to-house in the area alerting residents while they search a wooded area that is roughly 500 acres.
Quirin said it's been a difficult search.
"There's lots of steep hills, the terrain is rugged out there, and they could be anywhere in that -- I'm guessing -- 500 acre area. If they are even there, they may have figured out some way to squeeze out of there. They may have found another vehicle to steal. We don't know yet," said Quirin.15604194
Law enforcement says their biggest fear is that this could turn into a hostage situation. The area that's being searched is surrounded with farm homes.
Officers are doing thorough checks of each of those homes and farms to make sure no one is there that shouldn't be.
Even though a gun was found in the abandoned stolen truck, it's possible the two inmates are still armed.
Quirin says residents in the Tomah and Oakdale areas are being asked to lock their doors tonight in the event the men try to enter homes.
K9 units from Tomah Police and the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department are helping search for the men.
Newman is 5'9" and 165 pound with brown hair and eyes. Misleveck is six feet tall and about 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Both men were last seen wearing tan t-shirts, grey shorts and tennis shoes.
A Wisconsin Department of Corrections spokesperson tells News 8 Black River Correctional is a minimum security facility that does not have a security wall or fence. The facility typically prepares inmates for release back into the community.
Newman was serving time for a 2009 conviction on six felony counts of discharging a firearm. He came to Black River Correctional in June 2012.
Misleveck was serving time for 2011 charges from Juneau County of arson, burglary and a stolen vehicle. He came to Black River Correctional in February 2012.
Stay with News8000.com for the latest on this developing story.
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